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Alcohol - How It Affects Your Health?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Balaji Ramagiri 90% (216 ratings)
MBBS, DM - Cardiology, MD
Cardiologist, Hyderabad  •  29 years experience
Alcohol - How It Affects Your Health?

If you are a heavy drinker and consume excess alcohol, you may face severe consequences related to short-term and long-term health. Alcohol has several negative impacts and affects on your heart. Although occasional drinking does not cause much harm, excess drinking may lead to many heart complications. There are chances of the development of cardiovascular diseases in an alcoholic person.
Alcohol affects the heart in several ways. Binge drinkers are more prone to face these complications. A person who drinks alcohol regularly, drinks very fast and drinks much more than the recommended consumption limit during a single session is called a binge drinker.

Here the ways in which alcohol affects your heart:

  1. Alcohol weakens the heart muscles: Heavy drinking for a long span of time tends to weaken the heart muscles. A condition known alcoholic cardiomyopathy may be caused. When the heart gets weakened, proper contraction gets disrupted and the heart is unable to pump sufficient amount of blood. Due to this, a person may experience certain symptoms such as tiredness, irregular heart rhythm, shortness of breath and swelling of the feet and legs. This can also lead to a heart failure.
  2. Alcohol affects your heart beat rate: Binge drinking and regular drinking over a long period of time may affect the rate of the heart beat or how quickly the heart beats. Alcohol may cause the heart to beat too fast, and irregular beating is observed. This is a condition known as arrhythmias, which may have grave consequences on your health. If you are not a regular drinker but drink too much in a day, you could face this condition.
  3. Alcohol can lead to high blood pressure and also cause a strokeBinge drinking leads to increased blood pressure, also known as hypertension. The blood vessels become stiff, and this causes the pressure to rise in the arteries and veins. Heavy consumption of alcohol may also trigger several stress hormones to be released, which cause a constriction in the blood vessels. This leads to increased blood pressure. Hypertension may lead to a heart attack or stroke.

In order to reduce the negative impacts of alcohol on your heart and overall health, you must practice drinking in moderation. You must not drink more than fourteen units of alcohol in a single week. Consume these fourteen units in three to four parts instead of consuming it all at once. You should give gaps and avoid regular drinking. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Cardiologist.

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